Below are easy-to-follow directions on how to measure for your Hartson-Kennedy countertop. It is best if you sketch your cabinet arrangement on a piece of paper. This will help you double-check your measuring and requirements. Start with the rough shape. Then it’s easy to decide counter lengths, depths and end finishes.
1. How to decide depth. A standard kitchen base cabinet is 24” deep. A standard 25” top will give about 1” of overhang at the front. (That’s both practical and great looking feature). The 25” top also has a right-angled backsplash that protects the wall 3-3/4” above the counter.
2. Mark the length of each counter using back wall measurements. Be sure to mark the depth of each “leg” so we know whether it’s a standard or bar top. Please note that whenever a bar top is attached to a standard top, there must be overhang included in the measurement of the standard leg. For example, if you are attaching a 36” deep bar to a 25” deep top, then you would add 11” of overhang to the length of the 25” leg. Also, overhang should be included in the length of any top with an end that will be visible when installed. For example, a 36” vanity cabinet with one end against a wall
and the other end visible would usually have a countertop 36 ¼” of 36 ½” long depending upon your taste.
3. Mark the cutouts you need by measuring from one end to the center of the cutout. Please also label the size of your cutout using either the overall measurement or, preferably, the size of the cutout. For example a standard 33x22 kitchen sink usually requires a 32 3/8” x 21 3/8” cutout.
4. Whenever a countertop is cut-to-length, please note how each end is to be finished. An end that is visible when installed should be marked “EC” for end cap. An end against a wall should be marked “ES” for end splash.
If a countertop is to be cut to a specific size, measure the length carefully. Draw a heavy pencil line on the decorative laminate surface from the top of the backsplash to the front edge of the countertop. Cover the pencil line with a transparent tape before sawing to help prevent chipping on the surface when cutting.
Use a 10 to 12 point finish handsaw for cutting. Make sure the saw is sharp. The cut should be made though the face of the counter (from the top) to prevent chipping of the decorative surface. Make sure to cut only on the down stroke.
Using a belt sander or sandpaper attached to a block, sand the raw surface to remove all chipping to create a smooth surface.
Tack vertical and end batten strips to ends of backsplash and ends of countertop. Use 5/8” nails for vertical strip and 1” nails for end strips.
In order to place end caps on the kitchen countertop, heat will be necessary. The rough surface on the back of the cap is a hot-melt glue which can be activated by heat.
Heat a household iron to its hottest setting. Place the cap against the countertop exactly as it will remain permanently. Then press the hot iron on the cap continuously moving the iron in a back-and-forth motion, not leaving the iron in any one place too long. As the end cap transfers the heat to the glue, the glue will become sticky and adhere to the countertop.
Use an ordinary small tooth wood rasp or metal file to remove any excess from the end caps. Always file in toward the center of the countertop. This will prevent loosening of caps.
Apply construction adhesive to the unfinished side of the end splash and place firmly against both the wall and the backsplash. Once the end splash is in place, use all-purpose adhesive caulk to on the seams where the end splash meets the wall and the countertop.
To make a sink or range cutout, first measure for the exact cutout according to the instructions of the sink rim manufacturer or range manufacturer. Drill a hole at each corner (stay inside the area to be cut) and finish the cutout with a fine tooth blade keyhole or saber saw. Cut and drill with saw teeth or drill cutting into the decorative face, and support the panel close to the cut. Do not cut beyond the hole at each corner.
The miter is factory pre-cut. If it is necessary to size-down a pre-cut miter countertop to a specific length, always cut the square end, not the miter end. Mitered sections should be joined together before installation on the cabinet.
1. Cover both raw surfaces of the miter cuts with waterproof glue.
2. Place the two miter cuts together.
3. Insert the four miter lugs into the routed slots and tighten with a 7/16” wrench to achieve a snug fit.
4. Using a rubber mallet, tap the two sides of the miter on the laminate side, starting from the front and working towards the back. Once the portion of the top above each lug is in line, tighten that lug fully and proceed to the other three lugs one-by-one.
5. If the top of the backsplash does not meet exactly, align the two pieces together and nail together from the back using 1 ½” nails.
6. Allow the glue to dry for approximately two hours prior to attempting to move or install the top. Failure to do so may result in an uneven miter.
The scribe strip at top of the backsplash can be used to create a level wall to countertop appearance. This strip may be sanded to conform with wall irregularities.
Set the countertop in the appropriate place and make sure all aspects of the top align and are level with the cabinets. Use wood screws or wood panel adhesive to secure the countertop to the cabinets. Make sure to check the length of the screws so they will not penetrate through the surface of your countertop. Seal the countertop to the wall with caulk. Remove excess caulk with a damp cloth.
Follow the directions from the sink manufacturer which will be packaged with your sink.
How do I care for my Hartson-Kennedy laminate countertop?
Please refer to the use and care guidelines provided by the laminate manufacturer on their website by following these links:
Formica Use and Care PDF
Wilsonart Use and Care PDF